Lawmaker: Tax code change a ‘no brainer’

The state House recently passed legislation reversing a Department of Revenue ruling that prohibited taxpayers from taking advantage of 100 percent bonus depreciation when filing corporate taxes.

Local lawmakers applauded the bill, which passed unanimously in the House.

The Senate passed the bill in April and Gov. Tom Wolf has signed it into law.

“It was a no-brainer,” sate state Rep. Jeff Wheeland, R-Loyalsock Township. “We are struggling to regain and recoup industry in Pennsylvania. The last thing we want to be is not be competitive with other states.”

State Chamber of Business and Industry officials noted that the state remained one of the few restricted by the policy.

Sam Denisco, Chamber vice president of Government Affairs, said the policy had, in effect, prevented businesses from writing off purchases.

“The Department (of Revenue) disallowed that. This affected corporations,” he said. “We felt the Pennsylvania statute needed to be fixed.”

Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr noted that many business owners felt they’d never experience tax relief after making equipment purchases and be far more likely to try to fix an expensive piece of equipment before attempting to discard or sell it.

State Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, agreed that the policy had put Pennsylvania at a disadvantage with other states.

It also worked to prevent companies from locating in Pennsylvania.

The policy, he said, “made no sense.”

Wheeland added, “Once again, we have to be competitive with other states.”

“We applaud the General Assembly for reversing the Department of Revenue’s bonus depreciation rule change,” Barr said. “At a time when we should be building on the tax reforms enacted on the federal level; the department’s policy change gave Pennsylvania the unfortunate distinction of being the only state in the nation to disallow any form of accelerated depreciation until an asset was disposed or sold.